One of my closest friends told me, last night, that she has cancer...and I didn't know what to say to her.
How could I not know what to say?!?
I've been there!
Got the bloody t-shirt!
So why was I so lost for words???
My reaction to her was a big eye opener for me; it took me back to when I was first diagnosed and had to tell my friends, colleagues and family... and how awkward and uncomfortable their reactions were.
At the time I was totally bewildered with their strange reactions to my news.
Me - "I've got breast cancer."
Them - "What?!? Oh my gosh that's terrible, I am so sorry."
Me - "Thank you."
Them - "Did you see the latest episode of Greys Anatomy last night?"
They couldn't change the subject fast enough. It was like they thought cancer was so contagious that even talking about it for too long was dangerous.
Some people avoided me altogether, they'd literally cross the street hoping I hadn't seen them, but I had seen them and it hurt. I don't believe they were being malicious, they just couldn't deal with the discomfort and fear of it all.
Standing there last night with one of my closest friends telling me she has cancer... and I just stood there dumbfounded, refusing to believe it was true. It felt like I was sobbing on the inside but the physical tears just wouldn't show themselves. Inside my emotions were reacting like mad, but on the outside I just stood there helpless and hopeless.
Now I understand what my family and friends went through when I told them I have cancer. Now I am in their shoes, and those shoes tight and uncomfortable.
I always assumed that one day I'd be the perfect supportive friend if someone I knew was diagnosed with cancer. I just assumed I'd take it all in my stride, immediately know what to say and what to do.
Lesson for the day - DO NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
But all that doesn't matter, what matters is I don't care how awkward, uncomfortable, tongue tied, helpless or hopeless I feel because it's not about me and it's all about her. I will be there for her, even if I say the wrong things or don't say anything at all. I will listen, I will make her smile, I will hold her hand and shower her with hope, love and light.... and we WILL get through this... together.